Christ Above All

The Life and Death Battle for Protestantism in 17th-century Britain; Featuring the Lives and Works of Samuel Rutherford and George Gillespie.

17th-century Britain was rocked by civil and religious disturbances and upheavals. As the Stuart monarchs slid toward Romanism and absolutism, Protestants, first in Scotland, then later in England, resisted the doctrine of "divine right of kings" as well as the Roman and Arminian principles that supported it. They asserted, first from Scripture, then by force of arms, that Christ is the King of kings and the Head of the Church.

The works of two great Scots of this period, Samuel Rutherford and George Gillespie, survive to refresh our memories about this epic spiritual battle, which also resulted in memorable physical battles. These works are important primarily because the principles are still very much debated today. In addition, many of these works include some of the finest examples of Scriptural interpretation ever written.

However, the great scholarly works of these men are only part of the story. Both were also pastors, and their surviving letters and sermons give a glimpse into their parish ministries. Rutherford especially was known for showing his students and congregations "the sweetness of Christ." In fact, he is far better known for his Letters than for his authoritative Lex, Rex. We have therefore chosen Christ Above All as a fitting title for this collection of works, as they show not only that Christ is over the king and the church, but that He is, above all, the object of the Christian's love and desire.

The omission of other great Second Reformation and Covenanter authors is not an oversight. We simply need to limit this collection to some manageable size. We hope to add other authors in later editions.

Please visit the Landmarks page for a virtual tour of some of the Covenanter memorials and historic sites in Britain.


The following is a list of the content. Where the book is available, we have included a link to it for immediate download. All files are published in the Adobe® Acrobat® Portable Document Format (PDF), which retains the look and feel of a tangible book, with precise page formatting and the ability to print a hardcopy on your local printer. In order to view PDF documents, you must have a PDF viewer. The most popular of these is the Adobe Acrobat® Reader, which is freely available. Click here to download the Adobe Acrobat® Reader.

Rutherford's Pastoral Works

  • Rutherford's Letters
  • Fourteen Communion Sermons. Republication of the Second Edition (1877).
  • The Trial and Triumph of Faith (27 sermons on the Canaanite woman who came to Christ seeking healing for her daughter)
  • Quaint Sermons of Samuel Rutherford (18 sermons)
  • An Exhortation at a Communion to a Scots Congregation in London
  • Christ Dying, and Drawing Sinners to Himself, or A Survey of our Saviour in His Soul-Suffering, His Loveliness in his Death, and the Efficacy thereof, in which Some Cases of Soul-trouble in weak Believers, Grounds of Submission under the Absence of CHRIST, with the Flowings and Heightenings of free Grace, are opened, Delivered in Sermons on the Gospel according to John, Chap. xii. ver. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.
  • A Sermon Preached Before the Honorable House of Commons, At their last solemne Fast, Wednesday, Januar. 31, 1643.
  • A Sermon Preached To the Honourable House of Commons: At their late Solemne Fast, Wednesday, Jan. 31. 1644.
  • Catechisms of the Second Reformation (including "Rutherfurd's Catechism")
  • The Last and Heavenly Speeches, and Glorious Departure of John Viscount Kenmure. Republication of the 1649 (original) edition.

Rutherford's Scholarly Works

  • Exercitationes Apologeticæ Pro Divina Gratia (Latin text). Apologetic Exercises for Divine Grace.
  • Lex, Rex, or The Law and the Prince; a Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People
  • The Covenant of Life Opened: or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, Containing Something of The nature of the Covenant of Works, The Soveraignty of God, The extent of the death of Christ, The nature & properties of the Covenant of Grace: And especially of The Covenant of Suretyship or Redemption between the Lord and the Son Jesus Christ, Infants right to Jesus Christ, and the Seal of Baptisme: With some Practicall Questions and Observations.
  • The Divine Right of Church-Government and Excommunication: or A peacable Dispute for the perfection of the holy Scripture in point of Cermonies and Church-Governments, in which The removal of the Service-book is justified, etc.
  • A Dispute touching Scandall and Christian libertie
  • The Due right of Presbyteries or, A Peacable Plea for the Government of the Church of Scotland, etc.
  • A Free Disputation Against pretended Liberty of Conscience Tending to Resolve Doubts moved by Mr. John Goodwin, John Baptist, Dr. Jer. Taylor, the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, and other Authors contending for lawlesse Liberty, or licentious Toleration of Sects and Heresies.
  • Influences of the Life of Grace, or, a Practical Treatise concerning The way, manner, and means of having and improving of Spiritual Dispositions, and quickning Influences from Christ the Resurrection and the Life.
  • A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul's Presbyterie in Scotland, or A modest and Brotherly Dispute of the government of the Church of Scotland, Wherein, Our Discipline is demonstrated to be the true Apostolick way of divine Truth, and the Arguments on the contrary are friendly dissolved, the grounds of Separation and the Indepencie of particular Congregations, in defence of Ecclesiastical Presbyteries, Synods and Assemblies, are examined and tryed.
  • The Representation, Propositions, and Protestation Of divers Ministers, Elders and Professors, For themselves, and in name of many others well-affected Ministers, Elders, and People in Scotland. Presented by the Lord Warrston, Mr. Andrew Cant, Mr. John Livingston, Mr. Samuel Rutherford, and diverse others; To the Ministers and Elders met at Edinburgh July 21. 1652.
  • A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, opening The Secrets of Familisme and Antinomianisme in the Antichristian Doctrine of John Saltmarsh, and Will. Del, the present Preachers of the Army now in England, and of Robert Town, Tob. Crisp, H. Denne, Eaton, and others. In which is revealed the rise and spring of Antinomians, Familists, Libertines, Swenck-feldians, Enthysiasts, &c. The minde of Luther a most professed opposer of Antinomians, is cleared, and diverse considerable points of the Law and the Gospel, of the Spirit and Letter, of the two Covenants, of the nature of free grace, exercise under temptations, mortification, justification, sanctification, are discovered. In Two Parts.
  • A Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church-Discipline Penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker, Late Pastor of the Church at Hartford upon Connecticot in New England. Wherein The Way of the Churches of N. England is now re-examined; Arguments in favour thereof winnowed; The Principles of that Way discussed; and the Reasons of most seeming strength and nerves, removed.
  • De Providentia
  • Examen Arminianismi

Works of Rutherford's Opponents

  • Sacro-sancta Regum Majestas: or; The Sacred and Royall Prerogative of Christian Kings. By J. A., a pseudonym for John Maxwell. This is the book to which "Lex, Rex" was a response, and lays out the case for the theory of divine right of kings.

Gillespie's Pastoral Works

  • Sermon Preached Before the Honourable House of Commons, March 27, 1644
  • Sermon Preached Before the Right Honourable the House of Lords, August 27, 1645

Gillespie's Scholarly Works

  • A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the Church of Scotland, 1637
  • An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland, 1644
  • A Brotherly Examination of Some Passages in Mr. Coleman's Sermon on Job 11:20, 1644
  • Nihil Respondes, or a Discovery of the Extreme Unsatisfactoriness of Mr. Coleman's Piece Entitled "A Brotherly Examination Reexamined," 1644
  • Male Audis, An Answer to Male Dicis, 1644
  • 111 Propositions Concerning the Ministry and Government of the Church, 1644
  • Aaron's Rod Blossoming, or the Divine Ordinance of Church Government Vindicated
  • A Treatise of Miscellany Questions
  • Notes of Debates and Proceedings of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, February 1644 to January 1645, by George Gillespie
  • Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty, or, The True Resolution of a Present Controversy Concerning Liberty of Conscience.


Related Works

  • An Apologetical Relation of the Particular Sufferings of the Faithful Ministers and Professors of The Church of Scotland Since August 1660. By John Brown, Minister at Wamphray
  • The Pastor and the Prelate; or Reformation and Conformity Shortly Compared. By David Calderwood
  • Causes of the Lord's Wrath Against Scotland. By the Church of Scotland, General Assembly, 1651
  • De Jure Regni Apud Scotos; A Dialogue Concerning the Rights of the Crown in Scotland (English translation). By George Buchanan, translated by Robert MacFarlan
  • Lex, Rex Paraphrased. This is a modern paraphrase of Rutherford's classic work, with a bibliography, index of Scripture texts, and other aids for the modern reader. By Victor Mote
  • Treasury of the Scottish Covenant. By John C. Johnston
  • The Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750. By James Walker

Are We Missing Some?

If you know of other Rutherford or Gillespie works, or public-domain biographies of them, please contact our Research Department, so that we can consider including them in this product. Also, we are very interested in finding copies of the works written by their opponents.

Other Information

  • We are releasing individual books for download as they become available.
  • We hope to add other documents in future editions of this product.
  • We hope to make the entire collection available on CD-ROM at some time in the future for a reasonable media fee.